Building an Authentic Community of Practice


[9] Course Reflection

The first key moment that resonated with me was likely on the second day of class when Angela explained her approach to teaching this course and said in regard to the authority she was given over us as our professor that “[she was] not interested in that power.” The moment gave me pause because I did not understand what not being interested in a power meant until she broke down much of the barriers between professors and students that we often take for granted. After enjoying the new classroom dynamic, it made me reflect on what powers might have been bestowed on me that I was not aware that I held over others. What powers am I not interested in? What narratives do I legitimize by using the power I have? One other key practice in the course that resonated with me was the activity we did on value systems. Sharing our results in an almost BuzzFeed quiz type of deliberation with my table was fun, and it sharpened my reasoning for almost all the values I chose. It was also fun to get up and physically connect each of our values to a social justice issue on the white boards around the room.

To be honest, the only thing I was disappointed in was myself for losing sight of the wish I had in the beginning of the course. It was to help create an environment for people who don’t usually speak up to feel comfortable doing so even if it was randomly in the middle of the semester. I know we did not get to hear from everyone this semester and I recognize that’s a huge loss to the experience, so I would suggest for the next class to use conversations to take a formal pause of exchanges between the most talkative members of the group and give the floor to those who have not spoke at all. It could be a good way to practice the values we discuss heavily in the class about inclusivity and respect by having everyone together shift gears to tune into the new speakers. More interactive activities could be fun too!

Lastly, this course had me thinking about social justice more in general overall. It made me curious and motivated to go engage in more community events. It made me reflect deeply about social justice movements going on currently that provide an absolute study on issues of power, authority, profit over people, etc. If you look at all my assignments throughout the semester for American Government & Politics, Health & Human Services Policy, and even Art in New York City, I basically did not stop talking about social justice issues for the entire Spring I session.

Advice for students in next class: Drop your inhibitions and think freely! Work out your thoughts together with your peers. Now’s your chance to explore where you stand in relation to social justice.